This is the time of year when the dreams start up again. You know the ones: You’re in gym class without pants, or at your hallway locker and you can’t remember your combination. And you’re not wearing pants.

It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been out of school — fall still puts our brains into learning mode. We could ignore it. We could snuff out the sensation with large quantities of bologna sandwiches and wine. Or we could embrace our brain’s natural desire to LEARN STUFF.

And remember, we didn’t say you had to learn advanced calculus (not that there’s anything wrong with that). You could learn something drinkable. Or involving a trapeze.

Or, dare we say, kind of naughty. You’re a grown-up now. You can do that.


There was a time, long ago, when you were a master of the monkey bars. You could dangle upside-down for the entire hour slated for recess (remember recess?! Why don’t adults have that?). These days, you only defy gravity for the fraction of a second it takes to jump up and smash a spider on the kitchen wall. Maybe it’s time to take the gravity-defying back with an aerial skills class. Think trapezes, silks and hoops. And a whole world of weeeeee!

Beginner aerial skills classes by Apparatus Dance Theater run 9 to 10 a.m. this Saturday through Oct. 12 at Breakwater School in Portland. Cost is $120.



Intended for the complete novice (i.e., those of us who aren’t already masters of classic burlesque and whose “sultry walk” looks more like we’re recovering from a recent spinal surgery), a Red Hot & Ladylike class will teach you how to “let loose and shake it with confidence.” And by “it,” they mean your bod.

Fall sessions begin Friday at the Red Hot & Ladylike Dance Studio in Portland, and classes are drop-in. For more info, including prices, go to


You’ve probably been to a wine tasting in the past. Wine tastings are great. But this is different. This is a 10-week course that includes classes on growing grapes, wine making, historical events, and of course how to really taste and assess a glass of wine. The session costs $325, and is slated to begin in mid-September (they’re still finalizing the details) at One City Center on Wednesday nights.

For more information or to sign up, email Mark Ohlson, owner of MJ’s Wine Bar in Portland, at [email protected] 


Seriously. Synchronized swimming. I don’t know whose idea it was to offer such a class through Portland Recreation, but bless them! Because now we all have the chance to attain a dream! A nose-plugged, breath-holding, vertical and upside-down-in-the-water dream!

Also, it’s an Olympic sport, so if you plan to be ready for the 2016 games, you best start now. Classes are 6:30 p.m. Thursdays at Reiche School in Portland. Prices are $50.75 and $54.25. Info:


Maybe you wanted to be a ballerina when you were little and never got the chance. (In which case, it’s never too late. Sign up for a ballet class and go get that ballerina dream!) Maybe you were forced into ballet classes and still shudder at the sight of a full-length mirror and/or tutus. In that case, go for beginner hip-hop. Or Latin jazz. Or tappity-tap-tap.

You can learn all this through adult dance classes at Casco Bay Movers Dance Studio in Portland beginning this week. Cost is $225 per repertory. Info: 


Backyard chickens are awesome. Everyone’s into it these days. And sure, the fresh eggs are phenomenal, but you know what chickens can’t do? Pollinate.

In a Beekeeping 101 class offered through Portland Adult Education, you’ll get an overview of keeping bees, including the equipment needed, investment in time and dollars, and some insight into what a year in the life of a beekeeper looks like. No bees are needed for this one-day class on Oct. 16, which costs $19 for residents and $24 for non-residents. Info:


Why are Suzanne Collins and Stephenie Meyer raking in all that young adult-fiction dough? You can write about things kids like too! Trilogies of things!

Also offered through Portland Adult Education, the Writing Young Adult and Children’s Fiction class meets for eight weeks to talk about plot, character, setting, editing, and maybe vampires, homework and to-the-death battles between teens. Cost for the class, which begins Sept. 24, is $56 for residents and $66 for non-residents. Info: 


You might know several people who own a paddleboard. Heck, you might own one yourself. But I bet none of those folks built that paddleboard with their own two hands. Back in my day, if you wanted a sandwich, you made it! And if you wanted a log home, you built it! And if you wanted a paddleboard, you signed up for a paddleboard building class and worked with smart instructors who helped you build the thing and looked out to make sure you didn’t screw it up.

Luckily, there is such a class, offered through Compass Project in Portland beginning Monday. Cost of the course, including materials, is $2,050 — not cheap, but hey, you get your own custom-made paddleboard! Info: 


Not everyone wants to be a hunter. And that’s fine. That doesn’t mean there’s not a time and place to shoot stuff. Read: A safe time and safe place with expert instructors. Oh, and “stuff” that’s round and orange and made of clay and doesn’t have any babies.

L.L. Bean in Freeport offers an array of inexpensive courses in its Discovery School, including clay shooting and archery. For $20, you get instruction, use of equipment and tutelage. Info: 


With ground transportation growing increasingly costly and chaotic (and I mean chaotic — sometimes several minutes stuck in traffic), we certainly need to begin thinking about alternate methods of long-distance movement. Me, I’m for the hovercraft. But you? You might be a high-in-the-sky kind of commuter.

Sure, flying lessons, such as those offered by Southern Maine Aviation flight school in Sanford, aren’t cheap. (They run into the thousands.) But wouldn’t you rather be that guy with the pilot’s licence than that guy without the pilot’s license? Info:

Shannon Bryan can be reached at:

[email protected]

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